Michigan Democrats introduce federal bill to protect IVF after Alabama ruling

By Kyle Kaminski

February 29, 2024

A decision by the Alabama Supreme Court is raising concerns about the future of fertility care. But four US representatives from Michigan are fighting to protect access.

MICHIGAN—Recent federal legislation aims to establish a new nationwide right to access infertility care after a decision from the Alabama Supreme Court effectively banned in-vitro fertilization (IVF) in the state and raised concerns about potential nationwide restrictions.

The new bill—known as the Access to Family Building Act—was introduced last month in the US House of Representatives and co-sponsored by 79 Democratic members of Congress, including Michigan Reps. Dan Kildee, Elissa Slotkin, Hillary Scholten, and Shri Thanedar.

Specifically, the legislation aims to preempt any state-level efforts to limit access to fertility care by providing a new federal right to access “assisted reproductive technology,” including IVF. 

“What is happening in Alabama to restrict women’s health care is a direct result of former President Trump’s promise to overturn Roe,” Kildee said in a statement. “Congress must act immediately to preserve women’s reproductive freedom, including access to IVF.”

On Wednesday, Democrats tried to pass similar legislation in the US Senate, but it was blocked by Republican senators. Kildee said that if Republicans actually support access to IVF, then House Speaker Mike Johnson should not hesitate to “bring this bill to the floor immediately.”

The House bill would not change any health and safety regulations surrounding reproductive care, but would enable the Department of Justice to bring civil actions against any states—like Alabama—that block access to care. It also includes a provision that would guarantee all health care providers and insurers the legal rights to provide and cover those services, respectively.

“Every family deserves the freedom to decide if, when, and how to build a family,” Kildee said.

This month’s controversial ruling in the Alabama Supreme Court found that frozen embryos in test tubes are legally considered people, and that those who destroy them can be held liable for wrongful death. The ruling has since caused healthcare providers in Alabama to to stop offering IVF treatment, as well as stoked fears of a broader, nationwide push to restrict fertility care if Donald Trump and anti-abortion Republicans regain control of the federal government in 2025.

There have also been bills introduced in over a dozen states—and at the federal level—that could ban IVF. 

Last week, Trump tried to distance his presidential campaign from his record of railing against reproductive rights by claiming to support IVF treatment, and calling on Alabama state lawmakers to pass new laws that would protect access to fertility care within the state.

And in Michigan, other Republicans have deployed similar tactics—namely by trying to convince voters that they haven’t spent years trying to rip away access to reproductive care and repeatedly voting on legislation to define legal personhood as beginning at fertilization

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this week told the state Department of Health and Human Services to issue a reminder to health care providers in Michigan that access to reproductive health care is protected under the state constitution, and that providers are formally protected from extradition on all matters of reproductive care under an executive order that Whitmer signed in 2022.

Whitmer has also vowed to “keep fighting” to protect reproductive freedom in Michigan.

“We will continue monitoring the situation closely and make sure our nurses and doctors can do their jobs. We will fight for your freedoms in Michigan,” Whitmer said in a statement. “You deserve to make decisions that are best for you and your family with your doctor without unelected government officials getting in the way. No matter what, we got your back.” 

READ MORE: Another far-right leader takes control of the Michigan Republican Party

For the latest Michigan news, follow The ‘Gander on Twitter.

Follow Political Correspondent Kyle Kaminski here.

Author

  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Politics

MI Grand Rapids Food Voting

Local News

Related Stories
Share This